How can you shop better?

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By Catherine Strawbridge, published in Cambridge News, March 23rd 2017 edition

What type of shopper are you?  Do you plan or are you a last-minute panic buyer? Years ago I used go to sleep and spontaneously dream about an item of clothing.  Those were the days of ‘social shopping’ with friends every weekend so I’d get the chance to scour the shops to find aforementioned item. Admittedly success was hit and miss.  I do remember a pair of wide legged trackie bottoms, many moons ago. The joy when I found them in Gap, success!

For those lacking that random psychic shopping gene, which I have since lost, do these sound familiar? Skint and finding everything you try on is perfect, if only you had some cash.  Or, shopping when you desperately need an outfit, money burning a hole in your existing pocket but you can’t find anything to spend it on!  Why is it never easy?

We had some friends round for dinner last week and it got me thinking about how we shop.  I don’t normally get too involved in cooking but in this instance I decided to offer my services and make dessert. I’m no chef so I called on one of my mum’s tried and tested, Delia’s Chocolate Truffle Torte. Recipe in hand I checked the larder to see what we had and drew up a shopping list for everything else. Off I pootled to the shops. Back home, ready with my ingredients I followed the instructions and voila! Rave reviews.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all applied that process to the way we shop for clothes?  Think about what we want to create – in this case outfits rather than desserts. Refer to someone in the know e.g. a stylist, some magazines etc to see what we want to create. Look to see what we already have in the wardrobe and write a shopping list for the missing ingredients. List in hand, and only then, do we head to the shops to buy those additional items that we know we need.

Admittedly food shopping in – insert chosen supermarket – is more likely to be successful first time round.  But the concept is the same. The result even better. Well planned outfits that we can confidently pick out of our wardrobe at a moment’s notice.

“My life is so busy I don’t have time to plan my clothes” I hear you cry. My answer – you wear clothes every single day of that busy life.  Whether or not you are into fashion those clothes are a huge part of your identity and how you present yourself to the world.  You will reap the rewards of planning your wardrobe – remember I got to eat the cake too! – and the more you practice putting outfits together, the easier it will become.  You’ll get to know what you have and what you need and more importantly what makes you feel and look good.  Give yourself a minute to imagine that feeling.  It’s a good one.

This month’s #pickoftherails from Cambridge independents

Shop Mira Mikati Skirt Giulio £347
Mira Mikati Skirt £347 from Giulio Fashion
Shop Anonyme Rosie Dress Petrus £72
Anonyme Rosie Dress £72 from Petrus
Shop Elia B Perforated Ankle Boot Boudoir Femme £185
Elia B Perforated Ankle Boot £185 from Boudoir Femme


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